Corvette Billboards - Bigger Than Life

Corvette heritage looms largee over the annual woodward dream cruise.

Christopher R. Phillip Nov 17, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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If you're one of the estimated 1.2 million people who pilgrimage to Detroit's annual Woodward Dream Cruise, held the third weekend of each August, chances are you may have looked up at the sky and seen an image of a classic Corvette and a catchy phrase staring down at you from a 30-foot-high, 14x48-foot billboard.

"The Woodward Dream Cruise features an estimated 50,000 vehicles, most of which celebrate Detroit's first-string role in the history of the automobile," Corvette Marketing Manager John Fitzpatrick says. "The event includes a spectacular showing of Corvettes. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to not find examples from every year of America's Favorite Sports Car's 59-year history represented at it."

Recognizing that it had a transient target audience for the capacity-crowd weekend (which dwarfed the census numbers of many American cities), Chevrolet began sharing a sky-high view of Corvette's legacy with Dream Cruise crowds in 2002. "It was really a simple plan," Fitzpatrick says. "... to draw attention and rekindle memories that people had. We took some of our most iconic properties--Corvette is obviously right up there--and let the product stand for itself with a beauty shot and a phrase that would make you smile, say 'Yeah, I remember that,' or get a little bit of excitement stirring throughout your body."

Before long, however, the advertisements became a topic of discussion for Corvette fans on Internet forums, a trend that endures to this day. "People began calling and emailing Chevrolet to learn more about them," Fitzpatrick says. "That showed us [at Chevrolet] that these billboards resonate with a lot of people and regenerate interest every year--not just in Detroit, but across the country and all over the world."

Currently, chevymall.com offers the entire collection of Corvette-legacy billboards individually in various sizes and formats, including 12x36-inch paper-stock posters and metal signs; 24x72-inch vinyl banners; 6x18-inch framed wall hangings; wall calendars; and--for those who think really big--print-on-demand sizes all the way up to a standard 14x48-foot billboard. Prices range from $20-$80 for standard sizes; print-on-demand sizes are price-quoted upon request. You can learn more about purchasing your own Corvette- legacy objet d'art at www.chevymall.com.

Chevrolet has featured seven Corvette-themed billboards at the Woodward Dream Cruise since 2002. Let's take a look at them and get Corvette Marketing Manager John Fitzpatrick's inside story on their tag lines.

Special thanks to Richard Prince and Mike Antonick for their help identifying the model years of the Corvettes featured in this story.

01

  • Car: '63 Riverside Red coupe
  • Tag line: "They Don't Write Songs About Volvos"
  • Debut: 2002 Cruise Weekend
  • The Inside Story: "You look at the history of Chevrolet, and the brand has been in more than 1,000 songs of all different genres. You don't hear songs about 'Drove my Volvo to the levee.' The point is: Corvette resides in the American pop culture."

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02

  • Car: '67 Rally Red coupe
  • Tag line: "When Cool was Measured in Cubic Inches"
  • Debut: 2002 Cruise Weekend
  • The Inside Story: "It goes back to when people measured their self-esteem based on the size of their engine. With political correctness, this billboard may not be appropriate to put in a different city at a different venue at a different time, but the whole point of Woodward is to celebrate the car culture."

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03

  • Car: '60 Tasco Turquoise
  • Tag line: "Ever Wonder What Your Mom Saw in Your Dad?"
  • Debut: 2003 Cruise Weekend
  • The Inside Story: "It's one of my favorites. I think there are many people my age who see that question, think about it, and then say, 'Oh, he had a really cool Corvette.' It explains what goes on in that old male-female tango."

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04

  • Car: Early C3 coupe (year and color unknown)
  • Tag line: "All Rise" (Reissued as "My DNA can Beat up Your DNA" art poster)
  • Debut: 2004 Cruise Weekend
  • The Inside Story: "The point we're trying to make is, this one is the king; you need to show it due respect."

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05

  • Car: Panama Yellow '58
  • Tag line: "In This Town, Bodywork Doesn't Mean Plastic Surgery"
  • Debut: 2006 Cruise Weekend
  • The Inside Story: "You look at the great lines of the '58, and its fiberglass says it all. It looked great when it was new, it looked great 56 years later when the billboard first ran, and it looks great today. You don't really need to put it under the knife at all."

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06

  • Car: '63 Sebring Silver coupe
  • Tag line: "The Original American Idol"
  • Debut: 2006 Cruise Weekend
  • The Inside Story: "It is one of the iconic cars, and in many ways it is the original American idol. For the most part, it is the Corvette that people aspire to own. Need I say more?"

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07

  • Car: Polo White '53 prototype (aftermarket hardtop)
  • Tag line: "Chevrolet Runs Deep"
  • Debut: 2011
  • The Inside Story: "We hadn't been producing these billboards in a few years, so this was really our opportunity to get back into Woodward and back to all the people who loved us. If you drove south on Woodward Avenue, you would see this billboard."

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08

  • Car: Carbon Flash Metallic '12 Centennial Edition ZR1
  • Tag line: "Chevrolet Runs Deep"
  • Debut: 2011
  • The Inside Story: "If you turned around on Woodward Avenue right after passing past the previous billboard, you'd immediately see this one. The point of the two of them is, Corvette not only enjoys a great legacy, we also celebrate its great future."

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